“I remember being really conscious of not wanting to fight with another black woman on camera. I did an interview and the producers were like, “Well, this [other black woman on the show] said this about you. What do you have to say about that?” And I said I’m not fighting with another black woman on TV. Even during my elimination episode, when it came down to myself and another black woman, my mother — after watching — said, “Why didn’t you defend yourself?” And I just didn’t want to give television the satisfaction of seeing two black women going at it. We see that so much.”
“Orange Is The New Black” star Laverne Cox is the subject of a lengthly profile over at Buzzfeed, where she gives a fascinating walk-through of her long road to stardom. After moving to New York City to attend Marymount Manhattan College, Cox worked in nightclubs and acted in student films. Then, in 2008, she got cast on P. Diddy’s reality show, “I Want To Work For Diddy.” Believe it or not, reality TV was a positive experience for her. She credits Diddy for giving her exposure on national television, although she is very realistic and measured about what “a dubious distinction” it is to be “the first black trans woman to appear on a reality TV show.” One matter of principle for Cox, she explained, was refusing to play into the “angry black woman” stereotype that reality TV producers tried to coax out of her and instead held her tongue in situations where she otherwise might have spoken up. In a pop cultural landscape with brats like Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan making headlines, it’s refreshing to see a thoughtful, principled actress succeeding. [BuzzFeed]
Earlier this month, trans activist and author Janet Mock appeared on “Piers Morgan Live” to discuss her new book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. That didn’t go so well, thanks to Morgan’s repeated misgendering of Mock and his focus on the physical aspects of her transition. Many of Mock’s supporters — and Mock herself — were rightly perturbed and expressed as much on Twitter, which Morgan mischaracterized as “attacks.” He had Mock back on his show the following night, and this followup went even worse — for Morgan, I mean, who came off even more shrill and entitled and clueless. The real bummer was that Mock was not given the time or freedom to actually talk about the issues discussed in her book, though it must be said that when Morgan did let her get a word in edgewise, she was brilliant. So it’s kind of amazing that the news show that actually gave Mock the opportunity to address the issues of real importance to the trans community, particularly trans women, was the satirical “Colbert Report,” on which Mock appeared last night. Keep reading »
Last night, Piers Morgan had trans advocate and author Janet Mock back on his show for a followup “interview” after her appearance the night before ignited controversy on Twitter and across the blogosphere. The first interview, which aired Tuesday night, featured a chyron at the bottom of the screen which misgendered Mock as having been a boy for 18 years; Morgan also misgendered Mock a few times during the interview, and repeatedly asked questions that focused on Mock’s surgery as when she became “a real woman.” To quote Avital Norman Nathman in her post on the subject yesterday, “That is not only incredibly reductive regarding gender, but missed the entire point of Mock’s new memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More about her road to girlhood, which began far earlier than one moment in Thailand at age 18.”
After the pre-taped interview aired, Mock tweeted a few criticisms about the segment and where it went wrong. Her supporters and fellow trans people also tweeted their complaints to Morgan’s attention, but instead of engaging with that criticism in a thoughtful manner, recognizing his mistakes and apologizing for misgendering Mock, Morgan was dismissive of criticism because, in his view, all it means to be an ally is saying you’re one.
Keep reading »
If there was one thing Piers Morgan got right in his interview with writer Janet Mock last night, it was when he called her, “brave, frank, and honest” about coming out as transgender. Sadly, the interview sort of falls apart after that.
From almost the start of the interview, the header “Was a boy until age 18” ran across the screen, insinuating that Mock wasn’t truly a girl or woman until she had genital reconstruction surgery. That is not only incredibly reductive regarding gender, but missed the entire point of Mock’s new memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More about her road to girlhood, which began far earlier than one moment in Thailand at age 18.
Instead of treating the topic of disclosure with the nuance and sensitivity that it deserves, Morgan went straight for the sensational, wanting to know how the various men Mock has dated have reacted when she finally told them about being trans. He treated Mock, her body, and her past as a spectacle, rather than with respect as befitting the lived experiences of a fellow human being. (You can read the transcript here, although Morgan’s responses on Twitter are a better illustration of his blowhard behavior.) Keep reading »